Be careful what you say. Someone just might believe it.

by: Charles Gaiennie on

There is a television ad running right now by Chrysler that is doing a great job of contrasting what people think they know about Detroit, Mich., and what the realities of the city really are. The ad is called "This is Motor City and This is What We Do." You can see the ad here The basic message encourages the viewer to not judge Detroit by stereotypes and misconceptions but to learn more about what is really happening in that city.

There is a lesson in that commercial about how perceptions are created and managed. In the case of Detroit, we can pretty well assume that no one in Detroit is purposefully putting out a negative message about the city. But neither are they rebutting the message that everyone knows exists, however - at least not until this Chrysler commercial.

The issue is that in communicating who you are, it is extremely  important to think through your messaging carefully. It's hard enough to create an image in the minds of the market but even harder to change that image later. The Chrysler ad is an in-your-face example of what it probably will take to shift the perception of Detroit from a dirty, industrial, broken town to a place of enlightenment, perseverance and innovation. The commercial does a great job of beginning that process, but it will take a long and protracted effort to get people to think differently about Detroit. 

The commercial also creates an opportunity for us in Louisiana to reflect on the possible need for our own Chrysler-like commercial. We who live here know that Louisiana is an amazing place of beauty, with talented people who enjoy a quality-of-life that the rest of the world only wishes they could have. But ask someone from Nebraska or Wisconsin or Seattle what they think of when they think of Louisiana and chances are that they will not share the same perspective. What a shame.

The point is, just be careful what you say or allow to be said about you. People just might believe it.

Just in case you are of a mind to share truths about Louisiana, here is some recent information about our great state just released by our Louisiana Department of Economic Development.

  • Despite a national recession, two hurricanes and the BP oil spill, as well as rapidly declining hurricane recovery spending, our economy has outperformed the South and the United States by any reasonable measure over the past three years.
  • Additionally, we have been growing jobs faster than the South and the United States since the official end of the recession. In just the last 12 months on record, employment in Louisiana grew at nearly twice the growth rate of the United States and almost 50 percent faster than the South.
  • Our unemployment rate has remained well below that of the South and the United States every month since the beginning of the national recession.
  • Since 2008, leading companies have announced moves of their headquarters or other significant operations to Louisiana from a wide variety of states, including California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.
And if that is not enough, during a record cold winter in the United States, no one in Louisiana had to shovel snow from a driveway in order to get to work in the morning. That alone makes Louisiana a great place to be.

God Bless Louisiana!

© Copyright The W.L. Gaiennie Company 2016